The Gerard Health Foundation has announced the inaugural winners of its new Life Prizes award established to recognize six individuals or groups who have made “unsurpassed strides in preserving and upholding the sanctity of human life.”
The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) was one of the winners, described by Life Prizes as an organization that “saves lives by remaining steadfastly committed to life within a stridently pro-abortion profession and which conducts research, writing, and public advocacy especially on the negative impact of abortion on women.”
A second winner was Richard Doerflinger, a bioethics expert who is Associate Director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. Described as a “consummate researcher,” he is reported to have been involved in almost every major pro-life legislative initiative since 1980.
“He has contributed behind the scenes to all major pro-life statements from the Catholic bishops during the last quarter century,” the Life Prizes statement said.
Margaret "Peggy" Hartshorn, the president of Heartbeat International, was a third awardee. Heading a network of more than 1,000 pregnancy resource centers around the world, her work was credited with directly saving “the lives of innumerable unborn children and their mothers from abortion through vital pregnancy support.”
Another Life Prizes awardee was Jill Stanek, the nurse who first exposed the infanticide at an Illinois hospital where babies who survived abortions were being left to die in a utility closet. A proponent and chief witness of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, she is a writer and popular blogger who Life Prizes said continues to “reveal the truth about late-term abortion.”
Lila Rose, founder of the student pro-life organization Live Action and President of its UCLA chapter, was also recognized in the Life Prizes. Her journalistic undercover investigations “exposed the racism and statutory rape cover-up by Planned Parenthood,” Life Prizes reported.
The final awardee of the first Life Prizes awards was Kay Coles James, Founder and President of The Gloucester Institute. Her institute, described as “an outreach and education initiative for young African Americans,” develops solutions for communities facing challenges. Using lessons from the civil rights movement, it recognizes that “the first civil right is life itself.”
Kay and her husband Charles James have “worked to advance the pro-life cause for three decades as advocates in the highest levels of government.” They have founded both a pregnancy resource center and Black Americans for Life.
The prize divides $600,000 among the six winners, who were chosen from more than 100 nominees by the Life Prizes Selection Advisory Committee.
The selection committee’s four members include Archbishop of Denver Charles Chaput, the Reverend Dr. Alveda King, former Ambassador to the Holy See Ray Flynn and Professor Hadley Arkes of Amherst College.
Cathy Ruse, Executive Director of the Gerard Health Foundation’s Life Prizes program, worked with the committee.
"We were impressed by the exceptional caliber of all those nominated for the initial year of Life Prizes, and reminded of the heroism, sacrifice, and valor in the efforts of leaders from across the country," Cathy Ruse commented in a Life Prizes press release. "The six winners that were chosen are examples for us and for our children of the type of initiative and action that is needed to promote life throughout our country. We are thrilled with the work they have been doing and are excited to see how that work will continue."